Many patients with asthma are treated in the primary care setting. The primary care physician is therefore in a key position to recognize poorly controlled asthma and to improve asthma management for these patients. However, current evidence continues to show that, for a substantial number of patients, asthma control is inadequate for a wide variety of reasons, both physician-related and patient-related. The most recently updated treatment guidelines from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program were designed to help clinicians, including primary care physicians, manage asthma more effectively with an increased focus on achieving and maintaining good asthma control over time. The current review is intended to assist primary care physicians in improving asthma control among their patients; this review clarifies the new guidelines and provides a specialist's perspective on diagnosis, appropriate therapy, disease control surveillance, and appropriate referral when necessary. This discussion is based primarily on the new guidelines and the references cited therein, supplemented by the author's own clinical experience.